Day 4

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Paper title New approaches to monitoring marine-terminating glaciers with complex terrain using satellite radar altimetry
  1. Qi Huang Lancaster University Speaker
  2. Malcolm McMillan Lancaster University
  3. Alan Muir University College London
Form of presentation Poster
  • A9. Polar Science and Cryosphere
    • A9.04 Mass Balance of the Cryosphere
Abstract text Sea level rise is among the most pressing environmental, social and economic challenges facing humanity, and requires timely and reliable information for adaptation and mitigation. Narrow ice sheet outlet glaciers, such as those draining many marine sectors of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets, can make rapid contributions to sea level rise, and are sensitive to climate change with marked spatiotemporal variability in recent decades. However, estimating surface elevation and volume changes of these small, and often complex, glaciers has been notoriously challenging, thus limiting our ability to accurately constrain their mass balance. Satellite radar altimetry has proven useful in tracking variations in elevation across large parts of the ice sheets and offers higher spatial resolution and temporal sampling. However, this technique suffers from incomplete measurements and larger uncertainties over narrow and rugged outlet glaciers.
In response to the increasing need to derive reliable elevation and volume changes of narrow and complex glaciers, this study aims to explore new approaches to retrieving elevation measurements from radar altimetry, using methods that originate from the field of hydrology. The proposed approach consists of testing improved altimeter footprint selection over narrow targets, multi-peak waveform retracking, and off-nadir correction methods that are suited for small glaciers. New high resolution elevation measurements (e.g., NASA's ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2)) and/or Digital Elevation Models (DEM's) will also be exploited to provide a priori information for enhanced altimeter retrievals. Within the study, these processing techniques will be applied in several test cases comprising ice sheet outlet glaciers surrounded by complex topography. If successful, the developed framework has the potential to further extend the capability of satellite radar altimetry over complex glaciological targets, and to improve the accuracy and coverage of the measurements needed to understand the extent, magnitude, and timescales of glacier change across these regions.